GDC: Virtual worlds need games

Mark Androvich of writes: As the three "spheres" of social networks, virtual worlds and MMOs collide, their creators can learn from each other said Turbine's Jeffrey Steefel.

In a GDC discussion entitled "Gaming's Future via Online Worlds," Steefel, an executive producer for The Lord of the Rings Online, explained why "worlds" need "games."

"The biggest intersection between games and virtual worlds is that games provide structure by their very nature," he said.

Steefel broke down today's virtual environments into three spheres – social networking, virtual worlds and MMO games – noting the strengths and weaknesses of each.

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